Go ahead lie about your age. It may be the very thing that
helps you live a longer life.
If those fibbers truly believe that they are younger than
what it says on their birth certificate, a new study shows they are among a
group of people who have a lower death rate.
That's compared with those who felt their age or who even
feel older than their years.
The new research letter is published in JAMA Internal Medicine online.
The study looked at data from from 6,489 people with an
average age of 65.8 years who reported that they felt a little less than 10
years younger. What's interesting is most people in the study didn't feel like
their actual age. Most said they felt about three years younger. Only a tiny
percent, some 4.8%, felt at least a year older than their actual age.
When University College London researchers followed up on
these people over the next eight years, the scientists found only a little over
14% of those who felt younger than their years had died. That was compared with
the more than 24% of the people who reported feeling older or feeling their age
who had died. Some 18% of the people who felt like their chronological age died
in that same time period.
happiness is healthy
The researchers say they want to better understand what made
the difference with this group.
"Possibilities include a broader set of health
behaviors than we measured (such as maintaining a healthy weight and adherence
to medical advice), and greater resilience, sense of mastery and will to live
among those who feel younger than their age," the study concludes.
"Self-perceived age has the potential to change, so interventions may be
possible. Individuals who feel older than their actual age could be targeted
with health messages promoting positive health behaviors and attitudes toward
Dr. Sharon Bergquist, a physician and assistant professor
of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine who
specializes in healthy aging, isn't surprised by the results.
"Research is showing us that personality can so be tied
to your destiny," Bergquist said.
happiness type matters
New research into the link between personality and aging
finds that there are two main traits that seem to help people live a longer
life: conscientiousness and optimism.
People who have both traits may have more of a will to do
the right thing to live a healthy lifestyle that can keep them healthy long
into old age.
"Aging well can certainly become a self-fulfilling
prophecy," she said.